About 600 East African doctors to undergo advanced training

About 600 medical specialists in East Africa will undergo a four-year medical training fellowship in a move expected to help improve rate of early detection and treatment of cancer and neurological diseases.

The fellowship is also expected to address the ratio of doctors to patients in the region’s growing population.

Kenya, for instance, has about 22 neurosurgeons — 12 of who are paediatrician neurologists — for the over 44 million population.

Fare much worse

This is less by nearly 200 neurologists required for the population.

On the other hand, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda fare much worse with only five, seven and three specialists respectively for their burgeoning populations.

This is despite the World Health Organisation recommendation of 200 specialists for Uganda and 275 for Tanzania.

A mixed faculty

The training scheme — which will also include a medical fellowship — is the brainchild of the East African Development Bank (EADB) and the British Council in partnership with the Royal College of Physicians, London. It was unveiled on Friday in Nairobi, Kenya.

In the first three years of the project, the programme will conduct a series of East-Africa based residential five to seven days training courses in neurology and oncology which will be delivered by a mixed faculty from the UK and East Africa.

Forms of cancer

EADB Director General Vivienne Yeda said the training will boost the medical fraternity’s capacity in the region by availing qualified professionals who will tackle various cancers — even as 50 Kenyans die daily from various forms of cancer — and other neurological disorders.

British Council regional director for sub-Sahara Africa, Mandy Johnson said: “We hope that the programme will lead to better health for the people of East Africa and ease the growing burden that non-communicable diseases put on the economies of East Africa.”